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The 19th century German painted wood Noah’s ark with close to 200 figures sold for £7200 at Brightwells.

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At 2ft 2in (65cm) with a 'boat-bottom base', this ranks among the largest produced and it included a great complement of well-carved and decorated figures.

In addition to eight figures of Noah and his family were 82 pairs of animals plus an additional 33 single models. The ark was originally purchased for one Edward Fairfax and was passed down through the generations, each group of children playing with it on special occasions and always under adult supervision (hence the good condition of the paintwork).

Several collectors and dealers were beguiled by this toy but an elderly lady steadfastly outbid them all at the auction on July 30.

Although the price of £7200 was more than she had anticipated paying, the local buyer said that at her age this was of little relevance against her delight in achieving a lifelong ambition of owning such an iconic toy.

The buyer's premium was 17.5%.